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Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

* Managers and Technical Debt

Posted on September 2nd, 2009 by Dave Johnson. Filed under Business.

Managers love technical debt. It helps them to make it seem like they are doing a better job than they are. They can do this in a few ways.

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First, by skipping tests and taking on other types of technical debt during development they come slightly closer to meeting tight timelines and releasing software that is not as good as it could have been, but good enough.

Second, when there are bugs found in the software the manager can blame the developers who were previously told to omit things like tests in an effort to get the software out sooner. Not only do the developers take the blame, but they are also forced to fix the bugs, often by working long hours outside of regular business.

The end result is that the software is closer to the quality it should have been in the first place, and the developers have done it in record time because they had to work evenings and weekends. And the manager, has not only released the software on time but he has also taken the credit for the heroic bug fixing effort.

That leaves the developers paying off the technical debt and looking for a new job where, hopefully, it won’t happen again.

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* Nitobi Hack Day

Posted on February 6th, 2009 by Dave Johnson. Filed under Business, Nitobi, hackday.

Yes it’s that time of year again, time for another epic Nitobi hack day!

Sure maybe we won’t have Beck playing but we will have some crazy Internets hacking going on along with of course beer, xbox and foosball. There will be some sort of prize for the voted best hack of the day - in the past this has been some sort of IPod for the most part but also included software donated by Adobe amongst others.

Either way there is not much of a better way than a Nitobi hack day to spend a variably cloudy, winter Saturday in Vancity!

I am probably going to be taking my triple-A approach of Android, Arduino and AIR with a dash of web APIs and a smattering of PhoneGap.

Come by the Nitobi office (Suite 300) anytime after 10am tomorrow morning (Feb 7) and hack till 6 when we will do the voting and drinking!

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* Popfly Management

Posted on June 22nd, 2007 by Dave Johnson. Filed under AJAX, Business, Web.

The Popfly project over at Microsoft looks pretty interesting if not just a cheap rip off of Yahoo! Pipes.

I just wanted to comment not on the application itself but an interesting thing that I noticed when looking at the list of people on the team - all of whom I am sure are very smart and skilled people. But here is the list of titles of the team members.

Group Program Manager, Program Manager, Developer, Developer, Program Manager, Program Manager, Engineering Manager, Test Developer, Developer, Product Manager, Developer, Program Manager, Program Manager, Product Unit Manager, Developer.

This can be summed up nicely in a simple graph.

Coming from a small company with something more like a 10 to 1 ratio of developers to managers I can’t help but feel somewhat bewildered! It just makes it even more amazing that large software companies don’t just crumble under the immense weight of the bureaucratic bloat.

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* The Amazing $5000 Podcast

Posted on September 15th, 2006 by Dave Johnson. Filed under AJAX, Business, Fun, Podcast, Redmonk.

Interesting email came in this morning. The OpenAjax alliance had been invited (to our greatest surprise and dismay) to take part in a podcast series about Ajax with the analyst firm ZapThink. At first thought it seems very reasonable. However, when you actually read the small print (ok it wasn’t that small) they wanted people to pay $5000 for the chance to talk on their podcast! Of course they are gracious enough to give people referred by IBM - who are a driving force behind OpenAjax - a whopping $1000 discount. Well sign me up!

They try to sell the idea to us by saying that they have literally _hundreds_ of downloads per podcast! I mean come on. Even the no good useless pukes that are Dave, Andre and Alexei were able to quickly pass the century download mark with our little audio recording about Ajax.

The real icing on the cake comes when they try to justify the price by saying:

There is a cost involved - in part to defray the costs of producing and distributing the podcast, and in part because as sponsors they get marketing visibility and leads.

Oh that’s right - the large costs associated with podcasting like that $29.95 for the headset and maybe some sort of opensource recording software. If it weren’t for the high cost I am sure that more people would be flocking to podcasts … It reminds me of the talk we had with ZapThink a while back. No wonder so many people are happy to talk to Redmonk. The greatest part about them is that we did a podcast with Cote (granted it was the podcast from hell) and we didn’t have to pay with anything but our time!

I think we will try charging the next people that come on our podcast ;)

technorati tags:ajax, podcast, redmonk, zapthink


* Grid V3.2 - Just One More Day

Posted on September 14th, 2006 by Dave Johnson. Filed under Business, Grid, Web.

We have been up all night but to no avail - Alexei is gone home dreary eyed and even Andre has headed back to Squamish.

James and I will be here for a little while still as we push to get the release out before the weekend.

Stay tuned.


* Nitobi Grid Launch Date

Posted on September 7th, 2006 by Dave Johnson. Filed under AJAX, Business, Declarative Programming, Grid.

Ok so we have set a date of Sept 14 for launching the latest version of our Grid control. Given some quality control issues in the last release we are trying to tighten her down and get her ready to work nicely with our framework. Best of all the docs will be kick ass ;)
Once we launch then I can get my GMaps mashup online too!


* Snakes on a Plane

Posted on August 11th, 2006 by Dave Johnson. Filed under Business, Fun.

For those that have not had Samuel L. call them from the Snakes on a Plane website then get on it!

This has to be the best viral marketing campaign I have heard (pun intended) in a long time.

Technorati Tags: marketing, snakesonaplane, business


* Nitobi - the New Face of eBusiness Applications

Posted on July 20th, 2006 by Dave Johnson. Filed under Business.

It’s official. We have _finally_ changed our name to Nitobi from the ever difficult to remember and google “eBusiness Applications”. We are slowing moving the brand over and the blogs will eventually change but I will let everyone know when it happens and try to make the transition as smooth as possible.

The name comes from a garden here in Vancouver (said to be the most authentic Japanese Tea Garden in North America) that is named after Dr. Inazo Nitobe who spent much of his life bridging the Japanese and North America cultures.

As for the logo, that is not only similar to the mathematical symbol for Pie (3.141592…). But most importantly it represents a part of our Canadian heritage, which is the inukshuk. Inukshuks were/are used as directional markers by the Inuit of the Canadian arctic.

I would love to hear people’s feedback about it!

Technorati Tags: nitobi, ebusinessapps, ebusinessapplications, inukshuk


* WebVisions 2006

Posted on July 20th, 2006 by Dave Johnson. Filed under AJAX, Business, Web2.0.

Just hanging out at WebVisions and tweaking my AJAX presentation, which I will give later on today (and post the slides too)

Once I am done we are also hosting a party here in Portland.

Here are the details:

WebVisions Friendly Northern Neighbour Party

Presented by three great canadian companies:
Nitobi ( - formerly known as EBA;-) Rain City Studios ( Bryght (

Where: Rose and Raindrop
When: 8:30 PM - Closing (Beers on us!)
532 S.E. Grand (10 Blocks South of the Convention Center)

Apparently it is a cool old funeral parlor building!

Technorati Tags: webvisions2006, webvisions, webvisions06


* eBay Web API

Posted on June 1st, 2006 by Dave Johnson. Filed under Business, Web2.0.

We have been uber busy writing the old book and getting lots of JavaScript written these days so blogging has been on the backburner a bit :(

I did get a chance to finally take a peak at some Web API’s today in hopes of finding one I liked to make a mash-up using our AJAX Grid product. I think that I might try out the eBay one since they have some good sample code and it should be real easy to integrate - plus the data is pretty well suited to a grid format of course. Aside from the actual API, the thing that had me most interested was their user agreement - which I surprisingly actually read!

The interesting part was where they say that:

You may not co-mingle, modify or display the eBay Content with the content of third parties … the eBay Content is segregated from non-eBay content, and the eBay Content must be presented in such a way that the eBay Content is visually separate (as with lines or color changes) from non-eBay Content (“eBay Area”); and no third party listings, information or other content of any kind may be combined with eBay Content or displayed anywhere within the eBay Area;

In this day and age of share and share alike in the new Web 2.0, that sort of license seems pretty draconian. However, I think that this behaviour is a great example of the difference between the old (circa 1998) and new webs (today); during the dark ages of the old web there existed what some might consider to be “real” businesses that have now grown to be the data providers - of course data or information is the fuel on which the new web relies. The fresh young face of the new web of hippie-free-lovin mash-up is built largely on the hard work of those companies that survived the first Internet bubble and have accumulated a large amount of _very_ valuable data. As Bill predicted back in the day - content is king. Of course Bill is still doing ok I am sure. Going forward it will be interesting to see if and how the various Web 1.0 (for lack of a better term) powerhouses start charging for access to all their tightly guarded data.

Technorati Tags: ebay webapi web2.0 business